The Westerville Public Library still is working to assess the costs after a water leak damaged a portion of the library facility and thousands of books last month.

According to security-camera footage, a water heater above the library's children-and-teen area began leaking around 4 a.m. March 16. By the time employees reported to work that morning, the leak had caused enough damage to close a portion of the library and destroy a plethora of books.

Nearly three weeks later, most of the area has re-opened for use, but the effects still are being felt.

Library administrators have had to move around the space over the last few weeks, but the area is almost fully functional aside from the former homework help center, which has been relocated to the game room.

According to marketing manager Tamara Murray, library operations are back to running smoothly.

"We're not losing services, we're just kind of shifting," she said.

Murray said about 5,800 books were lost in the leak. The materials were largely teen-oriented, she said.

She said various items have yet to be replaced while the library waits to hear from its insurance provider, but it's likely they'll need to secure a few copies of the more popular books in the meantime.

"We're still going to be waiting with our insurance company for a bit before we do a huge replacement," she said. "But anything that has an immediate need, like Harry Potter, we'll probably go ahead and order a few placeholders."

Murray said the library likely will be waiting "quite a while" for repairs to ceiling tiles, base boards and other portions of the facility, and is "still working with the insurance company" to determine how it will be reimbursed for repairs.

Within hours of the incident, the Westerville Library Foundation -- a separate nonprofit entity -- created a crowdfunding effort with GoFundMe, aiming to raise $15,000 to help. As of April 2, the page had raised $5,715 of its goal.

"We have no lack of support for the library in this community," Murray said.

The GoFundMe page can be found at gofundme.com/ rebuildwplkids.

For more information, visit WestervilleLibrary.org.

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